We have been here before

The second Heineken Cup season kicked off in October 2006, but the first with the English clubs in tow. ITV, who were to have covered the competition, pulled the plug on its coverage,fed up with the wrangling between the organizers. The European clubs wanted to forge separate TV deals , and formed an umbrella group, the European Rugby Federation.

But BSky B did a deal with the ERC for the Heineken Cup instead,and any hopes the clubs had for a Super League,with rights negotiated through the clubs themselves and not the unions, were strangled at birth. And so television played a leading role in forcing the English clubs to come back to the negotiating table.

So as we wait for final signs that there will be a successor to the Heineken Cup next season,and with  a deal seemingly dependent on the TV companies coming to an agreement, we should remember that we have been here before.


Ground Force

I recently went to see London Irish play Leicester at the Madjeski.An enjoyable game and day out,but the thought occurred that London Irish really need a brand-new stadium, where the club can be a focal point rather than a little brother of Reading F.C.

Crowds have held up well despite the recession  but surely it is time that every Premiership club bought into the imperative that they own their own grounds- and retain the profits of the gate,bars,car parks, food, and also the weddings ,parties and conferences.For reference,look at Sandy Park,Exeter.

So how about a quick start to the rebuilding of the Recreation Ground. And we need a new Wasps stadium. Adams Park is in part an excellent ground but the capacity is too small, the access to the ground id abysmal, and the rugby club does not keep any of the proceeds.